İrem UZUN -TDO- Iran's government has urged the United States to release Iranians held in U.S. jails on sanctions-related issues due to fears about the coronavirus outbreak. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Washington of holding a number of Iranians in its prisons and said under these circumstances they should be set free. "U.S. even refuses medical furlough- amid #covid19- for innocent men jailed in horrific facilities. Release our men," he said on Twitter.

Dr. Sirous Asgari, an Iranian scientist who was exonerated in a U.S. sanctions trial but remains jailed by immigration authorities said the conditions in detention were filthy and overcrowded – and officials were doing little to prevent a deadly coronavirus outbreak. He was acquitted in November on federal charges of stealing trade secrets related to his academic work with a university in Ohio. Although the U.S. government lost its case on all charges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has kept him indefinitely detained since the trial. “The way ICE looks at these people is not like they are human beings, but are objects to get rid of,” said Asgari, a professor at the Sharif University of Technology, a public university in Tehran. “The way that they have been treating us is absolutely terrifying. I don’t think many people in the U.S. know what is happening inside this black box,” he said to the Guardian.

While thousands of prisoners released as jails and prisons face coronavirus, Iran has become one of those countries. It has temporarily freed about 70,000 prisoners to combat the spread of the coronavirus in jails, as officials reported hundreds of new infections and dozens more deaths across the country.

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